WENDAKE, QC, July 31, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Since the First Nations Financial Transparency Act came into force on July 29, 2014, the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) wants to set the facts straight. The Act requires that Band Councils publish their audited consolidated financial statements and Chiefs and councillors salaries on a website. The publication of certain figures since this Act came into force caused several comments and facts that deserve to be explained in a proper context.
First Nations Grand Chiefs, Chiefs and Councillors have responsibilities that extend well beyond those of a Mayor whose role is defined by specific rules. A Chief must take care of political, administrative, economic, representation, health and social duties and much more. The political context, often unfavourable, makes it that the elected officials are constantly trying to engage all levels of governments to advance their members' expectations and needs. It is not rare that Chiefs are also the negotiator as well as the administrator. The task is colossal and cannot be compared with anyone else.
Furthermore, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and the AFNQL did not support the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. The AFNQL is in favour of accountability and transparency towards the members of its Nations and communities. In spite of discussions with the federal government in 2008 to establish methods for financial transparency, the current Conservative government put an end to the work and decided to impose this law. The result being, once again, creating conflicts in a public forum and the perpetuation of prejudices and towards our people and towards those who have decide to take on the role of Chief that are legitimately elected by their community members.
Band Council funding does not always come solely from the governments. It happens sometimes that Chiefs and councils succeed in having their Aboriginal and Treaty rights recognized and as a result, making it possible to leverage economic benefits to generate other source income. These contributions can improve the capacity of the local governments to have the economic means to counter the government's underfunding in several areas.
About the AFNQL
The Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador is the political organization regrouping 43 Chiefs of the First Nations in Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql-afnql.com.
SOURCE: Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador
For further information: Mélanie Vincent, Email: [email protected], Cell.: (418) 580-4442